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Talking Points: New, Improved Boston Bruins Take Shootout Win

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BOSTON – Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 3-2 shootout win over the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Tuesday night.

GOLD STAR: It seemed like David Krejci was energized on Tuesday morning while talking about playing with new left winger Taylor Hall and then he went out and played like it against the Buffalo Sabres. Krejci scored the Bruins first goal on the rebound of a Jeremy Lauzon point shot and then was part of the push into the offensive zone that eventually rewarded Craig Smith with Boston’s second goal. Krejci was clearly working on the chemistry with a rusty Taylor Hall, who hadn’t played in the last 10 days while waiting for a trade out of Buffalo. Krejci finished with a goal and a plus-2 rating in 18:25 of ice time, three shot attempts, three blocked shots and 10-of-17 face-off wins while looking inspired out on the ice. If they can get that kind of consistent effort, execution and production from their second line, the Bruins are going to be in business during the playoffs.

BLACK EYE: Give Tage Thompson all kinds of credit for toughness and being a good teammate as he took one for the team when he challenged Kevan Miller after the rugged B’s defenseman threw a big hit on Rasmus Asplund. Miller quickly engaged and went into ferocious attack mode with a flurry of punches that included one overhand righty punch that dropped the 6-foot-6 Sabres forward to the ice. Thompson was tapped in the shootout perhaps in part for his willingness to stick up for his teammates but had a rough night otherwise with three giveaways and a single shot on net in 13:48 of ice time. So, this black eye is less about a poor play, thought, and pretty much all about a literal black eye he might be sporting after absorbing this power punch.

TURNING POINT: It was a small play in overtime, but it might just have saved the Bruins a point. Taylor Hall hustled back into the defensive zone on the back-check and managed to break up a pass to the trailer with a wide-open look at the Bruins net. Hall actually could have had a breakaway going the other way if he wasn’t tripped up on a delayed penalty call, but there probably wasn’t enough time for him to do anything with it either way. But Hall’s hustle managed to keep the Sabres from having a chance at a last second scoring chance and ensured that the Bruins would get to a shootout that they thoroughly dominated. Hall looked pretty rusty through most of the game, but it looked like he was beginning to feel his confidence a little bit in overtime prior to that big defensive play at the end.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jeremy Swayman said he “loves the shootout” and that it’s one of his favorite parts of the game. That is pretty much a 180 degree change from the guy that’s been the No. 1 goalie for the last 10 years in Boston, but the approach was refreshing as Swayman dominated the shootout while clearing the way for Jake DeBrusk and Charlie Coyle to score at the other end. Swayman was tall and imposing while quietly blocking the two shot attempts in the extra session and couldn’t have been faulted for either of the goals he gave up in regulation. So now Swayman has won three of his first starts for the Boston Bruins and has a .926 save percentage in his four games played. It was touching postgame when he talked about dedicating the game to his Maine head coach Red Gendron after his tragic, sudden passing last week. Swayman pointed to the sky after making the final save in the shootout to ensure the Bruins victory.

BY THE NUMBERS: 5 – the number of shots on net from new Boston Bruins defenseman Mike Reilly, who pretty clearly seems like he can find shooting lanes and get pucks on that. That’s something the Bruins defensemen have been having trouble with this season.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “First impressions were good. Three guys that helped us win a hockey game.” –Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy on the three newly acquired Bruins players after their first game in a 3-2 shootout win over Buffalo.

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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Mike S

Ahhh, The ol’ “one overhand righty punch” gets em’ everytime!

Orrfan

Nobody should ever fight Miller. You’d have to be crazy. Milsey gave up inches in height and reach, pounds in weight. And he absolutely decimated Thompson. You rarely see such punches in a hockey fight. Holy Hannah.

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